Saudi King Sacks Morality Police Chief

The head of Saudi Arabia's morality police was sacked after public complaints the organization has become too aggressive emerged.

Gabe Kahn. ,

GNU/Berbard Gagnon

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz sacked the head of his country's morality police on Friday.

No reason was given for replacing Shaikh Abdul Aziz Al Humain with Shaikh Abdul Latif Al Al Shaikh in the royal decree, which was announced on the state news agency.

However, the move comes among growing complaints by Saudi citizens that the morality police, which enforces compliance with Saudi Arabia's ultra-conservative interpretation of Sharia Law, has become too aggressive.

The morality police, known formally as the Organization for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, is primarily concerned with ensuring shops are closed at prayer times, that people are modestly dressed, and that strict gender segregation is observed.

"What is being reported in the news shows us there is some aggressiveness. When they see something wrong they should report it to the police, not take action themselves," A human rights activist told al-Arabiya on condition of anonymity.

"Society wants virtue to spread, but there should not be an invasion of people's privacy," they added.

Members of the Al Al Shaikh family hold the roles of Grand Mufti, head of the advisory Shura Council and Islamic Affairs Minister.

The family is closely allied to the ruling Al Saud family in a relationship cemented through numerous marriages.